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Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves by Ed Regis, George Church

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CHAPTER 2

-3,500 MYR, ARCHEAN

Reading the Most Ancient Textsand the Future of Living Software

The greatest story ever—the story of the genome—continues through the Archean geologic era, which started roughly 3,500 million years ago. The name “Archean” stems from the Greek arche, which means “the beginning.” (The same ancient Greek term also refers to the keel of a boat, the part from which everything else rises.)

Back in the Archean, the earth scarcely resembled the planet that exists today. For one thing, there was no free oxygen in the atmosphere, which consisted largely of gases such as methane, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and the like, a lethal ...

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